Chicago mayoral candidate Gery Chico pushes for gay civil unions

Mon. November 29, 2010 8:11 AM by News Staff

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Chicago, IL - Chicago mayoral candidate Gery Chico will spend part of Monday calling Illinois lawmakers and urging them to pass SB 1716, which would legalize gay civil unions.

Chico talked about his long-time support of LGBT rights during a meeting with community leaders at Ann Sather's on Sunday. He told the attendees that he'd been taught from a young age that everyone is equal.

"Extending human rights and responsibilities to committed same-sex couples is not only a matter of justice and human decency, it happens to be good public policy," Chico said. "This bill is a step in the right direction and we must not let perfect be the enemy of good. Our legislators must pass this bill and they must pass it now."

Illinois lawmakers will consider SB 1716 this week.

Chico is supportive of gay marriage, not just civil unions, but it's unclear how much impact he could have in that arena as mayor. In 2004, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom instructed city officials to give marriage licenses to any gay couples who showed up. Four thousand gay and lesbian couples married before the California Supreme Court stopped it.

Mayoral candidates Rahm Emanuel and Carol Moseley Braun also support civil unions.

On Sunday, Chico also shared other pro-gay elements of his campaign platform. He said he's push for equal rights for transgender workers and would demand a new anti-bulllying program in Chicago Public Schools. He said he'd also work with city contractors to provide domestic partner benefits.